SGI's new impaired driving prevention campaign shows real life impact of impaired driving
May 11, 2017
This month, SGI is launching a new version of its emotionally-charged multi-media awareness campaign showing the void left behind when a loved one is killed by an impaired driver.
Every statistic is a person, and the 2017 campaign highlights 12 lives cut short because of the senseless decision someone else made to drive impaired. SGI is replacing the stock photographs used in the original 2016 campaign with photos of real Saskatchewan people killed by impaired drivers.
Ben Darchuk, a 53-year-old married father of three, was tragically killed in 2012 in a head-on collision with an impaired driver in Prince Albert.
"Ben was an amazing individual, husband, father and community member. With Ben gone there is now an unfillable hole in our lives," said Leanne, Ben's wife. "Nobody ever deserves to experience the tragic pain from a loss like this. There are no words strong enough to explain the feeling of having your husband robbed from you."
The campaign also features Sarah Wensley and her friend James Paul (JP Haughey), both 17. In 2014, Sarah, JP and another friend were on their way to track practice in Saskatoon when they were hit by an impaired driver in a stolen truck. The crash was so severe, it embedded their vehicle into the side of a building. Sarah and JP were killed, and their friend was seriously injured.
"There is an emptiness or void in my soul and in my heart that will never be filled. I lost my best friend," said Sarah's father, Dave. "By sharing Sarah's story, hopefully we can prevent other families from having to go through this nightmare."
The campaign also features: Tanner Kaufmann, Adrienne Gardiner, Danille Kerpan, Quinn Stevenson, Brandy Lepine, and the Van de Vorst family (Jordan, Chanda, Kamryn and Miguire).
The human cost of impaired driving is sobering, considering that the 12 people featured in the advertisment represent only a fraction of the lives shattered every year in Saskatchewan due to impaired driving. Over the last decade, more than 600 people have been killed, and more than 4,000 injured in impaired driving collisions.
"I want to thank the families who came forward and agreed to share their stories. Theirs are the shattered lives behind the faces of this campaign," Minister Responsible for SGI Joe Hargrave said. "Their goal - our goal - is that this campaign prevents others from experiencing the pain of losing a loved one because of someone's decision to drive impaired. Too many lives have been lost and too many families have been torn apart due to impaired driving; it has to stop."
The province-wide campaign includes television, radio, theatre, billboard and online advertisements. It runs from May 14 to June 16. You can see the television ad and read more about the lives of the people featured at www.sgi.sk.ca/disappear.
Strengthened laws for impaired driving took effect Jan. 1, 2017 in Saskatchewan. Changes include the addition of a three-day vehicle seizure for experienced drivers caught for the first time with a blood alcohol content (BAC) over .04, increasing the age of zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol from under 19 to 21 and under, and making ignition interlock laws the strongest in Canada.